Washington: Matt Moore, another Jim Hickey student Nationals could sign

With Jim Hickey being anointed the pitching coach and Matt Moore sitting in free agency, the mentor and mentee the the opportunity to reconvene in Washington.

If you have ever seen the movie Animal House, you’ll remember the part where Kent Dorfman is up for acceptance to the fraternity and all the naysayers voice their displeasure. Dorfman is a legacy from Harrisburg, yet Otter has to get up and smooth talk the crowd into allowing the pledge to join.

I will try my best Otter impersonation as I bring you Matt Moore, a legacy of sorts, and a free agent pitcher the Washington Nationals could target to fill out their 2021 starting rotation.

The legacy part. Moore was raised in the Tampa Bay Rays minor league system, debuted, and spent six years at the big league level under the watchful eyes of pitching coach Jim Hickey.

With Hickey hired on to be the head pitching guy in Washington, maybe there is a reunion to be had. During his time in Tampa, Moore won 39 games and had a 3.88 earned run average. His best season was his All-Star campaign of 2013 where he was 17-4, with a career best 3.29 ERA.

After going through a little rough patch with San Francisco and Texas and having knee surgery in 2019, Moore made his way back to the mound, pitching in multiple leagues in Japan.

The more I think about how the Nationals are going to approach their rotation this offseason, the more I’m sold on the fact they aren’t going to make a huge splash for a starting pitcher. Three years ago they brought in Jeremy Hellickson to be the fifth starter and he worked out well enough, for what they were asking. Two years ago it was Hellickson, Austin Voth, and Erick Fedde, with a little Joe Ross sprinkled in, getting the ball as the fifth starter. Last year, after Ross opted out, the team went with Voth and Fedde.

All this to say, the Nationals are more than likely going to go with a guy who makes little money in the five spot. I think this person will be brought in on a one year contract. I’m also buying the idea there will be two or three people signed cheap to battle over the spot.

Might as well pair Matt Moore with his former pitching coach and allow him the opportunity to earn the fifth spot in the rotation.